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Kia Recalls 80,000 2011 Sorento SUVs Over Fire Risk

2011 Kia Sorento | Photo: Kia
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Daniel Rufiange
Some vehicles might need to get a new engine

Kia has initiated a recall for around 80,000 units of its 2011 Sorento SUV. The affected models potentially pose a fire risk in the engine compartment.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in the U.S. estimates that the problem exists in 1 percent of the affected models. These vehicles were manufactured between October 24, 2009 and June 24, 2011 at Kia’s West Point plant in Georgia.

The units being recalled are equipped with the 2.4L 4-cylinder engine. The issue lies in the absence of the engine knock detection system in these models. Consequently, if a problem occurs and remains latent, the driver will not be alerted, potentially leading to engine deterioration and an increased risk of fire.

Details regarding what might cause a fire are not very clear. Kia's statement to the NHTSA remains vague, stating only that “an engine compartment fire can occur while driving for many different reasons and depending on the severity of the fire, the identification of the cause can be untraceable.”

It appears the company is indicating it may not have necessarily found the cause of certain past fires related to the model. The recall is being issued, Kia says, to “mitigate an unreasonable fire risk due to potential engine damage.”

Certainly, any smell of burning should be taken seriously, as well as any smoke emanating from the engine compartment. The check engine light might also illuminate on the instrument cluster.

Kia advises owners of vehicles targeted by the recall to visit a dealership for a technician to inspect the engine.

In some cases, the automaker might simply replace the engine if a problem is detected, which for those owners is good news since it should prolong the life of their Sorento.

Alternatively, the company is also instructing dealerships to proactively install the knock detection system software. Vehicles undergoing this procedure will benefit from an extended warranty of 15 years or 250,000 km, depending on the first occurrence.

Customers who have already paid for vehicle repairs due to this problem can request a refund. Kia will begin notifying owners by mail starting from February 9, 2024.

Daniel Rufiange
Daniel Rufiange
Automotive expert
  • Over 17 years' experience as an automotive journalist
  • More than 75 test drives in the past year
  • Participation in over 250 new vehicle launches in the presence of the brand's technical specialists